Microsoft, Yahoo! jostle for US search share

Google is the undisputed king of search in the United States.

But who's number two?

Yahoo! has long held that position but Microsoft has been creeping up and may even have leapfrogged the Sunnyvale, California, company in a competition whose goal is to turn more Internet searches into more advertising dollars.

According to The Nielsen Co., Microsoft, led by new Web search engine Bing, overtook Yahoo! for the first time in August to make it the number two search service in the United States.

Another digital tracking company, comScore, disagreed, however, releasing August search share figures just days after Nielsen's that had Yahoo! still firmly in second place.

According to Nielsen, Microsoft's Bing, MSN and Windows Live had a 13.9 percent share of US search volume in August while Yahoo! had a 13.1 percent share.

ComScore, for its part, said Yahoo! accounted for 17.4 percent of the US search market in August and Microsoft 11.1 percent.

Both click-counters agreed that Google remains the dominant player with a 65.1 percent search share in August according to Nielsen and a 65.4 percent share according to comScore.

So who's right - Nielsen or comScore - when it comes to the battle for second place?

"I couldn't say one's more accurate than the other," said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of SearchEngineLand.com, a blog devoted to search.

"They've got their own formulas," Sullivan told AFP. "They both have their own ways of measuring exactly what they consider a search to be. For example, comScore will not consider anything that happens on a map page to be a search."

Sullivan said what's important for him is "not whether the numbers are exactly the same but whether or not the trends tend to be the same.

"It's not really 'Is Bing higher than Yahoo!?' but 'Is Bing continuing to close the gap?"

By that measure, Bing has made steady strides since it was launched in June last year, good news for the Redmond, Washington-based company founded by Bill Gates and better known for its ubiquitous software.

"You've got Microsoft, this big, huge powerful tech company, that's been trying to be the number two in search for a long time and they're finally getting there," Sullivan said.

"Part of the reason why you've seen them become successful in this way is that they found a branding (with Bing) that people could understand and latch on to," he said.

"At the same time, you have Yahoo! going through the opposite in some ways," Sullivan said. "They are not positioning their service as what would seem like a competitor to Google."

Microsoft and Yahoo! reached an agreement last year which calls for Bing to eventually power searches at all Yahoo! websites - although for advertising purposes their search share will continue to be calculated separately.

While Sullivan said it's difficult to precisely determine the value of a percentage point of search, it's a high-stakes game.

"The overall thing is the more that you can grow your share the more likely you're going to be able to tap into some of the millions and billions that Google makes off of ads," he said.

While Google can be expected to rule the search market for the foreseeable future, Sullivan said the Internet titan could see a mild erosion in its share in the short term, the result, ironically, of its own innovation, a product called "Google Instant" unveiled earlier this month.

Google Instant suggests results as a user types a query in the search box and displays them on the same page, eliminating the need to return to the search box if the initial query was unsatisfactory.

"You're only going to register one search under this existing system," Sullivan said. "So what could happen is Google's share could come down."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Back End

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has bec...

    Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

    £30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

    Recruitment Genius: Project / Account Manager and IT Support

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in Online Pro...

    Day In a Page

    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
    What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

    What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

    Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
    Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

    Are you a 50-center?

    Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
    The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

    Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

    The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
    Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

    Hollywood's new diet trends

    Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
    6 best recipe files

    6 best recipe files

    Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
    Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

    Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

    Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Atwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works